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Mountain Sun Students Explore the Universe at Asheville Museum of Science

By Kayla Leed | Brevard, NC

This year, the formation of the universe has been the overarching theme in the Elementary school science classes at Mountain Sun Community School. On March 2nd, the Monarch (Upper Elementary) class went to Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS) to tie together their recent themes of geology and the states of matter.

The day-long field trip began with lessons on geology. The students learned how to identify rocks, used the Mohs hardness scale to test the rocks’ hardness, and learned their chemical make ups. There was a scavenger hunt provided by AMOS that gave the students an opportunity to put their new knowledge to practice.

“I liked the hardness test. It was cool to see how the rocks reacted to different things,” a Monarch student said.

The students were fully engaged all the way through lunch and until they left the museum that afternoon. “The educators were knowledgeable and presented the information in a fun, engaging way,” said Becky Langerman, Upper Elementary Lead Teacher.

After lunch, the students had an AMOS provided lesson on states of matter. They learned about gases, liquids and solids by playing a game where each person was a particular molecule and then paired up based on their state of matter.

Oobleck was a favorite for the Monarch students. This non-Newtonian fluid remains a solid when under pressure but otherwise is a liquid.

“Oobleck is this stuff that just melts in your hand when you let it sit there. It was so cool, I think I am going to try to make some!” a Monarch student exclaimed.

Just when the Monarchs thought the day couldn’t get any better, AMOS brought out the Mars Rover replica, built and donated by Asheville residents Camille, Genevieve, and Robert Beatty of Beatty Robotics.

This replica is connected to a Virtual Reality headset that each student had an opportunity to use to see things the way Mars Rover sees things.

“I thought it was a very exciting experience,” a Monarch student said about the Mars Rover replica.

By connecting their discussions of the formation of the universe and early age humans in the beginning of the school year to land and tectonic plates in the next few weeks, the Asheville Museum of Science provided an excellent day of learning in action for the Monarch students.

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